Quote of the Week

Quote of the week: “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” - Toni Morrison

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Starting Your Story: Beginning in the Middle

The blank page stares back at you, mocking your very effort of telling the story that’s been haunting you for days, but where should you begin? You know that there is a masterpiece of character and plot just waiting to erupt into written form, though at times it can be a challenge to figure out exactly where the beginning really should be. The best place to start is in the middle.

In the middle of where, you ask? - The middle of the action. Throw your reader in head first right in the middle of something going on. It can be as dramatic as a high-speed car chase or as mundane as washing the dishes, but the point is to have your character actively living out their lives. Then you can spend the rest of the story catching the reader up to the important information they need to know about.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Website Spotlight

I have been recently collaborating with a writer friend of mine who has a new website about writing. On the site, you can find useful information and resources with lots more to come in the near. This site is brand new, but bookmark it and check back for new stuff! I too will be posting on it from time to time. Check it out at www.stevenwmorse.com. Right now I have my The Building Blocks of Plot eBook there and an article called Starting Your Story: Beginning in the Middle.

The Building Blocks of Plot

I recently became aware of a detrimental flaw to my works of fiction to find myself unable to complete many of my stories. I began to realize that my problem laid with my fundamental understanding of plot and so I decided to dive into research to try and find a way to fix this problem. During my journey that spanned over two months, I found a lot of helpful information and began taking notes- lots of them. I then decided that there may be others out there with my same problem and so began to write an article on plot, but there was a problem. There was way too much information to fit in a 500 to 700 word article, so I began a series of articles. Then a friend of my suggested putting the articles together to create an ebook, so here is the finished product of all that effort. I place it here for those who would like to read it. Hopefully you too will find some use for it. It certainly isn't a full comprehensive about plot, but it will at give you an idea of what good plot is and how to use it to get that story out from start to finish!

I have the free ebook posted on Google Docs. Check out the link at The Building Blocks of Plot.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What is Flash Fiction?

Flash Fiction, in short, is a fiction of extreme brevity. It can range from a few words to a thousand (but usually doesn’t go over a thousand words).  It has many terms: microfiction, sudden fiction, short fiction, postcard fiction, or short short  story.  It has a history that has goes back to Aesop’s Fables and has been used often by many authors like Ernest Hemmingway. There are also exact word count flash fictions such as: the Drabble or Nanofiction (about 100 words in length) 55 fiction and the 69er.*

The key to flash fiction is to create a complete story in as short as time as possible, so conciseness is king here, creating flash fiction is an excellent way to learn this delicate technique.  Some people do this by choosing a topic that evokes strong emotion and use that to drive their point home, while others rely on universal knowledge (like ice is cold and loss is sad). 

The best way to approach flash fiction is to imagine it as one scene or moment in time, which then you come in with your “camera” and take a snap shot. You then convert that picture into words that stand a testament to your picture for all eternity. So don’t over think or complicate it with too many details, just come up with an idea and write it.

Check out www.flashfictiononline.com for some great examples of flash fiction!

*information from www.wikipedia.com

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Breakdown of Plot Diagrams

Plot diagram is also called the structure of the story. It is the main outline of what is going on and everything else exists solely to support that structure. There are a couple of different types of plot structure but the basic one consists of Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. Learning Through Listening explains each of the five elements of plot and even breaks down the Cinderella story to help make it even more understandable. Exposition sets up the story and lets the stakes become known, Rising Action is the problem and/or conflict the character attempts to resolve, Climax is where the story is at it's worst, Falling Action is where the character begins to solve the problem, while Resolution brings the story to a close in some manner. Exposition, Rising Action, and Climax (or beginning, middle and end) is what is called the 3 acts of a story, each plays an important part to the story.